I don’t know why but I really don’t want him to get the boot! Probably because I’m a pig and want to see what tasty-looking concoctions he’ll come up with each week to feed (the uninterested; she’s a dancer after all) Karina.
Susan and Tony’s Jive: cute, but she looked very stiff up there. She tried hard to get the footwork right but she did miss some steps and had a hard time keeping up and it was obvious. Music was a bit too fast. She had a problem getting into the sailor shuffles for some reason — I don’t know if she forgot the step, and they were separated, so he wasn’t leading her at that point; she could only follow his example, or if she just had a hard time getting into the quick jumpy shuffling rhythm of it, but it was noticeable. Judges were WAY the heck too nice. She’s cute though and I sympathize with her difficulty learning, with her difficulty learning to “think” with your body not your brain.
Lance and Lacey’s Viennese Waltz: aw, sweet, well acted, nice, fluid movement, decent rise and fall but he really didn’t roll through the foot, so it looked a bit forced. Very traditional choreographically, though; Len can’t fault them on that this week. Sometimes his lines were awkward — he kind of threw his arms a bit over-far when they split and opened out to the audience, and toes were pointed oddly inward at points. But everyone does that — at least every man. Everyone needs a beginning ballet class!
Maurice and Cheryl’s Jive: so much fun. He is so rhythmic, great swivels, great jive kicks, perfect mood and musicality. And excellent tricks – -the jumping over her at the beginning, the back and forth through the legs. Cheryl can only get away with that with a real athlete.
Rocco and Karina’s Viennese Waltz: first of all, best practice trick so far: blindfolding him. He was so much better, so much more musical blindfolded. Took away his self-consciousness and his (completely normal) tendency to think with mind over body, to think the steps rather than feel them. The routine: adorable “Pussycat” song — who’d have ever thought of it but Karina? Great footwork on the basics — his basics — the one-two-three forward-side-close-backward-side-crosses were actually really splendid. Good reverse turn, as Len noted. Those aren’t easy. Lovely rise and fall action. And he’s a very strong partner, the way he swung her around on the floor sweep was masterly. In general, he wasn’t really polished and I can see Bruno’s “lump of mashed potatoes” remark, but he’s not a professional dancer for cry-eye! Give him a break. But but but, where was the food?…
Warren and Kym’s Viennese Waltz: ah, so romantic! And who knew the big guy could move so elegantly! I love how he grabbed her skirt at the beginning, pulled her toward him. And so smooth — he was beautiful in all of the partnering, all of the basics. When they split and he moved on his own, he sped it up a little, did a little skip, and overdid it a bit, but on the partnering, in closed position, it was just beautiful. And loved the little R&Bish arm wave at that one point.
Cody and Julianne’s Jive: well, not a whole lot of actual dancing. Mostly cute stylistics (playing the guitar on her leg, twice) and tricks (moving her around the floor in spins and slides, supporting her in cartwheel, etc.). But when he did dance, he was pretty good. He kept up speed-wise and got the footwork all right, though it wasn’t tremendously precise, but it was there. Cute western theme. And he did a lot better than I would have thought from that hilariously bad practice.
Toni and Alec’s Viennese Waltz: Ooh, costumes! Probably controversial, but I loved them. Wow, I didn’t want that to end. Loved the heavy metal-esque “Fur Elise.” No one could have pulled that off but her in that crazy gown, that music. And love his blousy shirt. He kind of looked Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. I was honestly looking at her though — and I always have a hard time focusing on the amateur. Her arms — that free arm on the steps in shadow position, was just like a feathery-tipped little quill pen, a flickering flame. Seriously, perfect line. And that spin was gorgeous. Perfect leg in attitude! Like a ballerina. She is such a pro — I’d never know she wasn’t an experienced dancer. And yet I really believe she isn’t. Thank you Carrie Ann — someone has a sense of humor on that judging panel. The V.W. was scandalous in its day, deliciously so!
Cloris and Corky’s Jive: Okay, so basically the youngest and the oldest contestants didn’t do much dancing. Although in Cloris’s case, it was understandable. I wondered how she was going to keep up to speed on Jive. So, a lot of running around the floor, and some basics, but in single Swing steps not triple, which is fine with Swing, and fine really, just not … Jive. But, you know… She’s cute. And they really had some fun and surprisingly well-executed tricks — when she managed to spin him around on one leg, and those ending crab-crawl things? Very good! I think I missed what happened with the wig though…
Brooke and Derek’s Viennese Waltz: Wow, bad fight in practice. I’ve so been there. Younger male dancer (male or female actually) who’s been dancing from age two and doesn’t understand how you can’t remember something he thinks simple so he basically calls you stupid. Not good, and I think I’ve lost some respect for Derek. I know he’s under pressure but that’s no excuse for saying she has a “lazy mind.” Anyway, very nice dance. She’s a natural in everything so far. She was so fluid, so lyrical. I love the close, almost Argentine-tango-like hand-hold at the beginning. I haven’t seen that with the Waltz. Splendid levity, rise and fall, she was really nearly perfect. At some points I think she rushed it a slight bit, with the openings out, and her lines didn’t have quite the clarity of Toni’s, but it was almost unnoticeable. She didn’t look as happy as before — there was something missing on her face, a spark was gone, likely from that nasty fight. But she held in there like a pro and was really just luminous.
Aw, poor Misty. She sounded like she was going to cry. Imagine being an Olympic gold-winning athlete, never seriously hurting yourself, only to shatter your achilles tendon doing the Lindy Hop. See, ballroom dancing is most definitely a serious sport!
So, overall, my favorite of the night: Toni and Alec’s VW.